Hajiya Shafa’atu, 30 and widow, initial survivor of the bandits’ attack on Monday in which 23 passengers of a bus were burnt to death in Sokoto State, is dead.
Shafa’atu gave up the ghost after she narrated how bandits killed her four children, mother and some relatives of hers.
She spoke to newsmen at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, where she was being treated for the injuries she sustained during the attack.
According to her, she, traveling with her four children, mother, immediate younger brother, a niece, and a nephew and other passengers were on their way to Kaduna State along Sabon Birni-Isa Road when they came under heavy fire from the bandits.
Shafa’atu said there were about 33 elderly persons and many children in the vehicle when it ran into the bandits believed to be loyal to one Bello Turji believed to have been terrorizing the eastern part of Sokoto State for some time now.
“They kept firing at our vehicle until it somersaulted three times and burst into flames. Only I and one other passenger miraculously came out of the bus; some other passengers later died of their gun wounds,” she stated.
She noted that eight of her family members, including her 10-month-old baby, were among the dead.
“I watched my mother, my maternal uncle, my nephew, and my niece burn to ashes while the attackers observed delightedly,” she added.
She disclosed that she and her relatives were attempting to flee the area because of incessant attacks by bandits when the incident occurred.
The seriousness of Shafa’atu’s condition prevented her from speaking further to newsmen.
Her uncle who is looking after her in the hospital told newsmen that he participated in the burial of the victims of the attack.
“You need to see their remains which were brought in two ambulances. They were unrecognizable because they had been burnt to ashes.
“We performed the funeral rites and buried them according to the injunction of our religion,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has condoled with the families of the victims, describing the incident as barbaric.
The governor said: “It is very disturbing that these kinds of things are happening here and across the nation. As those entrusted with the leadership of the people in this state, we are very worried and touched each time such incident happens.
“Nonetheless, we will not rest on our oars in doing the best we can to roll back this unfortunate problem.
“We have been doing our best to support the security operatives in the state. We have donated over 500 vehicles to all the security operatives in the state and trained about 1000 certified vigilante members.”
He said 500 motorcycles had also been donated to vigilante groups to ease their operations under the supervision of the security outfits.
Governor Tambuwal announced a personal donation of N250,000 to each of the families of the victims, just as he pledged his government’s willingness to pick the bills of those hospitalized.